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On the football field, hardwood, and ice, Las Vegas shows what a sports town it’s become

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Associated Press

Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young, right, dives for a loose ball during the team’s game 5 playoff loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Friday.

Las Vegas’ rapid rise as a sports town has been on full display in recent days, with the Aces, Golden Knights, and, of course, the Raiders all making headlines.

The Aces got knocked out of the WNBA playoffs; the Golden Knights kicked off the new NHL season with a win; and the Raiders are looking for a coach after Jon Gruden resigned in disgrace.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill said Gruden needed to pay a price after years of his vulgar emails were made public

“The things that he said were horrific and awful,” he said. “I do think he looks down on people, just based on how he interacts with them.”

Gruden’s forced resignation leaves the team in the hands of interim coach Rich Bisaccia, who needs to get the Raiders ready for Denver on Sunday and for what had expected to be a playoff run.

“There's not a whole lot of success stories for interim coaches. Hill said, adding, “I don't know that the Raiders are a playoff team anyway,”

In other sports news:

• The Golden Knights began the NHL season Tuesday with a 4-3 win over Seattle and aspirations that this is the team’s year to win the Stanley Cup.

“The Golden Knights looked like they were ready to jump right into the season,” Hill said. “They should run away with the division title this year.”

Support comes from

• The Aces lost to the Phoenix Mercury last week in the WNBA playoffs, but the team has good reasons to look forward to next season, according to Las Vegas Sun Managing Editor Ray Brewer, a longtime sports journalist.

“They've got a legit superstar in A'ja Wilson, one of the top five players in the world. She's really personable, and she's the great face of the franchise,” he said, and owner “Mark Davis is putting a ton of money into it.”

• The UNLV Rebels football team has yet to win a game during the first two seasons of coach Marcus Arroyo’s tenure, but Brewer says there are reasons for hope.

“They are semi-competitive in games this year, and you can see the signs of improvement,” he said.

Brewer said the Rebels have struggled with poor facilities for years, including playing in outdated Sam Boyd Stadium. Now, however, with Allegiant Stadium and a world-class football training facility, the team finally has the physical infrastructure to build a winning program around.

“They've got a great city of Las Vegas. They've got a great pro stadium. They've got a great practice facility,” he said. “They don't have good tradition, but it's only a matter of time until they could produce a winning team.”

Guests

Adam Hill, sports writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Ray Brewer, managing editor/sports reporter, Las Vegas Sun

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